Tophats on Source Fours

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I've always been a large proponent of tophats on all lights for aesthetic reasons, both the way the fixture looks with it on and so you can't see the gel flutter when the AC may happen to hit it.
This has become a bit of an obsession, loving the way lighting setups look from the audience (and sometimes paying more attention to that than the show). But I'm worried since I use them so often, I'm using them in the wrong way, not using half hats when that is more applicable, using hats on par sidelights when maybe I should be using barndoors (which I hate because they look bulky) etc.
Thoughts?
 

Mary Marshall

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
Las Vegas NV
I've always been a large proponent of tophats on all lights for aesthetic reasons, both the way the fixture looks with it on and so you can't see the gel flutter when the AC may happen to hit it.
This has become a bit of an obsession, loving the way lighting setups look from the audience (and sometimes paying more attention to that than the show). But I'm worried since I use them so often, I'm using them in the wrong way, not using half hats when that is more applicable, using hats on par sidelights when maybe I should be using barndoors (which I hate because they look bulky) etc.
Thoughts?
If the audience is staring at your fixtures, you have bigger problems than which top hat to use.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Location
Las Vegas, NV, USA
If the audience is staring at your fixtures, you have bigger problems than which top hat to use.
While I agree, there can be method to the madness. Half hats can be less obtrusive, and not just because there's only half as much showing. One problem with full hats (besides that they may block a portion of the beam) is that the audience can always see the inside of the upstage portion. Many have recently taken to flocking the inside, but this is not nearly as effective as having having nothing there at all.

The primary purpose of the barndoor is beam shaping. Tophats have two purposes: mitigating spill / halation, and obstructing audience's view of the lens.

For extra credit, consider adding concentric ring, eggcrate, and Hexcel louvers to your repertoire.

I couldn't find the thread I was looking for, but perhaps these will help to illuminate:
https://www.controlbooth.com/threads/how-should-i-cut-out-spill-from-my-lights.36820
https://www.controlbooth.com/threads/tophats-donuts.7514/
 

Dionysus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Agreed with Derek,

I'd also add colour extenders and colour extender barn doors for fresnels! Assuming that is that you are using gels and not LEDs. They can indeed be useful at times, especially when used with heat shield as well.
I do have colour extending barn doors on colorsource PAR fixtures in a couple venues, more to act kind of like top hats to keep the spill out of the audience. Does a LITTLE for shaping, but whatever. Looks cleaner. And would generally not use barn doors on the PARs.

Really do love half hats in the right places.

The goal, to reduce the more overt unpleasantness of the rig. As mentioned, if the audience is paying that much attention to the lighting grid you have much larger problems than using top hats or not.
Generally only used them when they particularly matter.
 

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